Government notifies special courts for trial of benami transaction cases

Oct 22, 2018 11:11 IST
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The Union Government has issued a notification stating that sessions courts in 34 states and union territories, will act as special courts for the trial of offences under the benami transaction law.

Key Highlights

The Union Ministry of Finance stated in its notification that the sessions courts were notified of the same after consultation with Chief Justices of High Courts under the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 for the trial of offences punishable under the provision of the Act.

In the case of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, the courts of additional session’s judge in each district have been designated as the special court.

Further, under the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, every trial should be conducted as expeditiously as possible.

The law also prescribes that every endeavour should be made by the special court to conclude the trial within six months from the date of filing of the complaint.

What is Benami transaction?

Benami transaction refers to transactions made in a fictitious name, or the owner is not aware of the ownership of the property, or the person paying for the property is not traceable.

Background

The Indian Parliament passed the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act in August 2016 to curb the menace of black money. The bill sought to amend the Benami Transactions Act, 1988.

The rules and all the provisions of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act came into force on November 1, 2016.

After coming into effect, the existing Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 was renamed as the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions (PBPT) Act, 1988.

The new legislation provided for seven years imprisonment and fine for those indulging in illegal transactions. The previous Act provided for up to three years of imprisonment or fine or both. It stated that the properties held as Benami are liable for confiscation by the government without payment of compensation.

The act has amended the definition of benami transactions and establishes adjudicating authorities and an Appellate Tribunal to deal with benami transactions.

Further, the act defines benami transactions, prohibits them and provides that violation of the PBPT Act is punishable with imprisonment and fine.

It also prohibits recovery of the property held benami from benamidar by the real owner. The properties held benami are liable for confiscation by the Government without payment of compensation.

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